From the Vaults: The Year of Myself

This story was published in Kora Journal (RIP) a couple of years ago and also in my collection, the Salvation of Billy Wayne Carter and Other Stories.

ONE MORNING I AWOKE to find my future self walking out of my bedroom closet. He appeared stark naked–for reasons related to the time travel and also because he knew he could just wear my clothes upon arrival. Since my future self and I shared a mind, I always knew what he was thinking, and we didn’t have to talk, though we sometimes did talk just to pass the time. I knew without his saying anything, for example, that he had come from exactly one year in the future, that his goal, my goal, was to have a year long love affair with me, and also that I would soon begin building a time machine in my closet.

I ran my hands over the body of my future self, which gave me a deja vu sensation that was comforting in its familiarity yet glorious in its novelty. I stripped off my own clothes and compared my current body to the body of my future self. It was very much the same, but my future self was more fit. I guessed all the sex I was going to have with myself for the next year would provide a consistently intense physical work-out. I got on my knees and took what looked exactly like my cock into my mouth, something I’d been attempting to do since puberty but I’d never had the flexibility. My future self and I made love through the night. At dawn, I finally collapsed for a few hours, exhausted, while my future self spooned me from behind.

When I awoke, my future self explained to me how the time machine would be constructed. That very day, I began building it, which was not as complex as I might have imagined, once I understood the principles, though it took several afternoons of my future self drawing me diagrams and explaining the math before it all sunk in. The main parts were old metal coat hangers, vacuum tubes, and canned yams.

I was able to devote most of my days to the project. I didn’t have a regular job during that year, and I was making an easy living off the money I’d made acting in a television commercial for a popular brand of chewing gum—which incidentally, was also one of the parts used in the time machine. When we talked, it was about silly things mostly, like television shows we used to like. Sometimes we would act out scenes from them. Every night, I was having marathon sex with my future self, the pornographic particulars of which are, I daresay, mind-blowing, but not especially relevant to this account.

Before I knew it, the year was up, the time machine was complete, and I faced a dilemma. If I went back, as the future self and had an affair with my past self, I had no idea what would happen at the end of that year. What would he do next that I would be doing a year from now? I had other questions also that were even more vexing. I realized that, two years prior, in his own time, he must have experienced everything I had just experienced in the past year with some other past version of myself, unless there really were, as some say, multiple universes in which the same events can unfold differently or not happen at all. I mean, how many versions of myself were out walking around in the world now? Would this pattern repeat indefinitely? I asked my future self about these things. For some reason, I couldn’t intuit the answers from his thoughts, perhaps because the questions themselves were nearly imponderable.

However, my future self said that I would learn the answers to these questions in time and not to rush things. As for his immediate future plans, he was thinking of going down the block for a slice of pizza.


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